The Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program is comprised of over 3,000 linear feet of archival collections, along with an extensive number of oral history interviews, that document the unique political culture of the state of Georgia.
Phil M. Landrum (1907-1990) was born in the northeast Georgia town of Martin on September 10, 1907. He earned a law degree from the Atlanta Law School in 1941 and served in the United States Army Air Corps from 1942-1945. After the war, Landrum served as Assistant Attorney General of Georgia from 1946-1947 and as Governor Melvin Thompson's executive secretary from 1947-1948.Landrum then worked in Jasper, Georgia, as an attorney in private practice for several years. He was elected in 1952 as a Democrat to represent the 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A conservative who fought to maintain segregation, he also helped write landmark legislation to curb union corruption. Landrum retired from Congress in 1977 and returned to Jasper, where he died of congestive heart failure in 1990.; Interviewed by Mel Steely and Ted Fitz-Simons on July 25-26, 1988 in Landrum's office.; This interview begins with a discussion on Phil Landrum's childhood and heritage. He talks about how he became a teacher, met his wife, and how he managed to make a relatively substantial living during the years of the Great Depression. Landrum then begins answering questions about his time in the Senate and his relationships with other Georgia politicians, including Ellis Arnall and M. E. Thompson. He explains that he was active in the midst of the Three-Governor Crisis and that he respected Herman Talmadge a great deal for being a good person, though he felt that Talmadge tried to make too many people happy and often said yes when he should have said no. Landrum talks about his relationships in the Georgia legislature and how they transferred into his relationships with people in Washington, D.C. Landrum goes on to answer questions about his time in the Nation's capital and how he and his family adjusted to living in the area. Landrum talks about the use of a letter campaign from his constituents in order to get a bill passed, which could be used for educational purposes. Landrum also discusses his reflections on current elections as well as his happiest moments in congress, both professionally and personally. One of the more interesting topics covered regards the Civil Rights Movement, and Landrum discusses certain African American politicians whom he believed used the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., to get ahead in their careers. He answers questions about the African-American voters in the 1960s and 1970s, and defines himself as a "realist" during the Civil Rights movement. He says he never considered himself a racist, but that he may consider himself a segregationist during that time.